Who Gets Microsoft Advantage on Windows 10 and just how?

Microsoft will release the brand new Microsoft Edge browser according to Chromium on January 15, at which point the company will also start pushing it to Windows 10 devices as the new default.

However, with respect to the form of Windows 10 that is running on one device, and also on the registry settings designed to the demonstration of the operating system, the new browser may or may not launch for download.

Automatic update via Windows Update

First and foremost, Windows 10 devices running Home and Pro will be offered Microsoft Edge via Windows Update. This means that the brand new browser will show up as a download on Windows Update, and when installed, it replaces the original Edge as the new version.

To be offered the new browser, devices must be running Windows 10 version 1803 (Windows 10 May 2018 Update) or newer. Only Home and Pro SKUs will get the browser on Windows Update.

The browser will land like a standalone update and won’t be bundled along with other security or non-security updates – this is the reason Microsoft will publish it on January 15, as January 14 may be the day when the company will release the January 2020 Patch Tuesday fixes.

Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro users may also be able to use a dedicated toolkit that will block the new browser from being offered through Windows Update. The toolkit makes a registry edit to avoid Windows Update from downloading the new Edge.

Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Enterprise will not be offered Microsoft Edge on Windows Update, therefore the Blocker Toolkit can’t be used on these SKUS. Microsoft explains:

“Organizations with environments managed with an update management solution for example Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) don’t have to deploy the Blocker Toolkit. They are able to use those products to completely manage deployment of updates released through Windows Update and Microsoft Update, including Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based), within their environment.”

Also, devices that are enrolled in a network using Windows Update for Business won’t get the update on Windows Update, and so the blocker toolkit isn’t necessary.

Manual download from the browser

Microsoft Edge will also be released as standalone installers for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and macOS – because of the migration to the Chromium engine, already available cross-platform, the browser can also be released on operating systems apart from Windows 10.

What this means is users will be able to manually upload Microsoft Edge no matter the Windows 10 version they operate on the unit; which means that manual installation of the browser is possible both on Windows 10 Home (where the browser is also offered on Windows Update) as well as on Windows 10 Enterprise (in which the browser isn’t offered on Windows Update).

Furthermore, manual installing of Microsoft Edge is allowed even on devices where the Blocker Toolkit has previously been configured – the toolkit only blocks installing Edge from Windows Update.

Microsoft allows multiple versions of Microsoft Edge to operate on a single device (stable, Beta, Dev, Canary) regardless of the manner in which was used for the installation of the stable build.

Once installed, the stable form of Microsoft Edge is going to be updated when features finish beta. Based on Microsoft’s own schedule, Microsoft Edge Canary is updated every single day, while the Dev channel receives updates every week. The Beta build receives a major update every 6 weeks.

On Windows 10, new versions of Microsoft Edge will continue to be shipped through Windows Update, while the rest of the OS versions will have to install updates manually when they go live.

KDE Wants to Help Windows 7 Refugees Upgrade to Linux and the Plasma Desktop

The KDE community has shared information on how they want to help people while using Windows 7 operating system emigrate to Linux and the Plasma desktop before it becomes obsolete on January 14th, 2020.

Next week, on January 14, Microsoft won’t provide updates or security patches to Windows 7 users, which means that their beloved OS will quickly become the prospective of hackers and all kind of threats when they don’t upgrade to Windows 10 or any other operating system, such as macOS or a GNU/Linux distribution.

As a result, the KDE community encourages Windows 7 users who don’t want to upgrade their computers to Windows 10 to provide Linux a go and install a distribution that has the Plasma desktop environment, which can be easily transformed to look and behave like a Windows 7 desktop with a special theme. Additionally, you’ll also take advantage of Linux’s security and stability features.

“Instead of migrating to Windows 10 and putting up with hours of updates, intrusions on your privacy and annoying ads built into your apps, use a Linux operating system with Plasma. In 30 minutes you’ll be ready to go and you’ll have all the security and stability of a Linux system, with all the features and simplicity of use of Plasma,” said KDE.

How about my personal favorite apps and games?

Obviously, the first question Windows 7 users will ask is that if their most favorite apps and games will operate on Linux. Well, the KDE community ensures people who want to migrate to some GNU/Linux distribution running the Plasma desktop environment automatically that they’ll look for a large amount of popular applications, and when you still need to use a certain Windows program plus there is Wine.

Wine enables you to run almost any Windows application and game on a Linux-based operating-system. A high level Windows gamer, it’s not necessary to worry an excessive amount of as you can stay in the hand your favorite games on Linux as Steam for Linux now supports thousands of games, and there’s also Proton, a tool that allows Windows-exclusive games to operate on the Linux OS.

If you’re still not convinced, the KDE community has prepared a pleasant video to show Windows 7 what they’re missing if they don’t upgrade to the Plasma desktop. They also generate a task where the community might help persuade Windows 7 users to maneuver towards the Plasma desktop by contributing with brainstorming ideas, resources, and advices.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update still can not convince individuals to upgrade

Fresh statistics claim that the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is gathering pace, and it has finally passed the 20% mark, although that still leaves it in a clear minority compared to the April 2018 Update.

The figures for February (or most of the month) from AdDuplex show that the October 2018 Update is installed on 21.2% of Windows 10 PCs worldwide. Although note that this is PCs which run the firm’s adverts (via Microsoft Store apps) that is in which the statistics are drawn from (with more than 100,000 computers analyzed).

That’s a sizeable jump from the previous stats for January, which indicated that the October 2018 Update was on 12.4% of machines. The month before that – December 2018 – the figure was 6.6%, therefore we can see the numbers are roughly doubling each and every month.

Still, the rollout from the October 2018 Update remains painfully slow, and also the April 2018 Update is present around the vast majority (71.6%) of Windows 10 PCs available, a minimum of going through AdDuplex’s stats (which obviously present a fairly limited viewpoint on the different versions of Windows 10 placed on computers available).

April showers, October drizzles

What we really have to remember here’s that whenever AdDuplex charted the progress from the April 2018 Update, in a month after release it had reached 50% of Windows 10 PCs. To ensure that provides you with some idea of just how badly Microsoft’s latest rollout has faltered.

There are many reasons why the October 2018 Update continues to be such a slow process, not minimal of which would be the many problems which plagued it post-launch, and the fact that Microsoft was instructed to pause the rollout for over per month when some truly worrying bugs were found (including one which deleted user data).

Even if the rollout resumed after that, further issues were encountered, and Microsoft continues to be pretty cautious in pushing the update overall. Indeed, it was merely a month ago the software giant reopened the ??phased rollout’ floodgates to automatically push the update to Windows 10 PCs.

We can presumably expect a large increase next month, certainly given that the next update – the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, as it will probably be imaginatively named – is now on the horizon. Although there is the chance that some machines may simply wind up skipping straight from the April 2018 Update to the April 2019 Update.

Intel Releases Wireless Driver 21.60.0 and 21.40.4 – Download Now

Intel has just provided new Wireless Bluetooth builds produced for a number of its Bluetooth adapters, namely versions 21.60.0 and 21.40.4, that are suitable for both 32- and 64-bit variants of Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Windows 7/Windows 8.1 os’s, respectively.

While both updates include functional and security improvements for that supported OSes, the 21.60.0 version alone resolves the audio glitches seen during HFP voice call (when Bluetooth LE mouse is connected), as well as the low audio quality over Bluetooth speakers.

With regards to the suitable adapters, this release does apply on Intel’s Wireless-N 7260/7265, Wireless-AC 9260/9461/9462/9560, as well as on Wi-Fi 6 AX200 and Wi-Fi 6 AX201 adapters.

Moreover, this release can also be installed on systems running among the compatible OSes which include an Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260, Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165/3168/7265/8260/8265 (+Desktop Kit), or Tri-Band Wireless-AC 17265/18260/18265 component.

As for the downloadable packages, producer provides 6 downloads (one for each OS and bit architecture), as well as 3 other archives produced for IT administrators who require advanced functions (just for Windows 10 platforms).

Therefore, if you intend to use among the available packages, simply get the appropriate download, run the setup, and follow the on-screen instructions. Also, otherwise asked by the installer, make sure to execute a reboot to make sure all changes work properly.

Having said that, in the links below, follow the one which best fulfills your needs, and use the package on your system. Also, constantly check with our website to stay “updated one minute ago.”

The World Still Isn’t Prepared to Let Windows 7 Go

We’re just a few days from the moment Windows 7 is scheduled to receive the last group of security updates, with Microsoft to then retire what has become one of the most successful operating systems it ever released.

There’s no doubt Windows 7 was a hit, and its existing share of the market may be the living confirmation of precisely how popular the 2009 OS currently is to this day after a lot more than Ten years since its launch.

But at the same time, the forex market share confirms that the world isn’t ready to let Windows 7 go, as way too many users don’t want to upgrade their devices and switch to an OS that is constantly on the receive security patches.

Moving forward, Microsoft will continue to support Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, however the latter is obviously the preferred choice for the Redmond-based software giant. Ought to be fact, Windows 7 users can continue to upgrade to Windows 10 totally free – Microsoft originally offered the free upgrades included in a promo that was obtainable in the first Twelve months after the launch of Windows 10.

But at this time, anyone running Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge.

Getting back to the marketplace share of Windows 7, the data provided by StatCounter implies that while Windows 7 declined, Windows 10 improved. This isn’t necessarily surprising, not only because of the approaching end of support for Windows 7, but additionally considering the aggressive upgrade push that Microsoft has embraced.

So in December 2019, Windows 7 was running on 26.79% of the Windows devices available, while Windows 10 reached a personal better of 65.4%. Certainly, the difference is big enough to obviously reveal that most Windows 7 users gone to live in Windows 10, but however, the graph that you simply see here confirms that many users don’t use whatever rush in upgrading their devices prior to the January 14 deadline.

The decline of Windows 7 has happened gradually without any steep drop experienced in one month to another. And what’s more, it even slowed up lately, which is kind of surprising since end of support is simply nearby. In October, Windows 7 was running on 27.98% of the Windows devices, dropping to 27.49% the following month and also to 26.79% in December. What this means is it lost just a little over 1% in two months, which for an operating system whose demise is almost happening is something rather unexpected.

Windows 8.1 sees no real take advantage of the death of Windows 7, which again confirms that many upgraders choose Windows 10. Windows 8.1 had a market share of 5.07% in October, 4.98% in November, and 4.87% in December.

The death of Windows 7 won’t happen overnight, that’s without a doubt, albeit I actually do expect the decline to achieve more speed within the coming months after Microsoft offers the last batch of security patches.

Enterprises will probably purchase custom support, a minimum of for just one year, especially as Windows 7 is broadly used in large fleets. The upgrade to Windows 10 is for many a pricey process, especially as buying new hardware is usually involved, but eventually, everyone will have to do it.

Windows XP is the living proof that the transition from the successful operating system to some newer sibling takes place much slower than anticipated, also it all happens despite the obvious security risks brought on by running unsupported software.

Windows 7 will indeed get the last updates on January 14, however these stats show it’ll hang in there for much longer. And I bet we won’t view it going away too early.

A number of ways to repair Blank Taskbar Icons in Windows 10

In addition to the desktop context menus that sometime appear under the taskbar, there’s another long-time bug in Windows 10 that keeps happening on various devices out there (and that we personally experienced some time ago): taskbar icons go blank all of a sudden.

If this bug occurs, the taskbar icons are not removed, and you can still interact with them, that rather than the icon a specific item is blank taskbar space.

It doesn’t really matter what Windows 10 version you’re running because similar problems happen to be reported on old and new OS releases – for instance, quite a few users come across exactly the same issue on Windows 10 November 2019 Update (Windows 10 version 1909), the latest version, however i previously experienced it within the April 2018 Update too.

There are many methods to (attempt to) fix this, and also the best technique is actually to free up disk space.

When you are running out of disk space, the icon cache is no longer correctly loaded, so ensure that you have at least 1GB of free storage on your device. Remove temporary or unnecessary files and reboot the device and so the taskbar icons ought to be there. In some cases, a system restart isn’t even required, because the icons return following a computerized refresh.

Actually, rebooting the system isn’t necessary even if you want to get rid of the explorer process. This can be a workaround that forces the taskbar to reload the icons it must display, and doing this is obviously much faster and much more convenient than rebooting the pc because you’re not losing anything and you can continue working following the problem is fixed.

You will find multiple methods to do this, and one of these involves this (press enter after each command):

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

explorer

You may also restart the explorer process by pressing:

CTRL + SHIFT + Right click taskbar > Exit Explorer

Next, you have to click:

Task Manager > File > Run new task > explorer.exe

After killing the explorer process, you need to see the taskbar going away completely featuring like Night light disabling.

Removing certain software may also help, as quite a few users claim that Google Drive File Stream is renowned for causing such issues. I can’t confirm this, however, as I’ve never experienced issues with Drive File Stream, but if this works, make sure you drop us a line at the end of the article.

Oftentimes, a simple reboot fixes the bug, but it then keeps returning simply because the reboot itself only removes the temporary files and therefore releases some disk space. When the disk gets full again, the bug returns, so freeing up space manually is the very first thing you should attempt.

Scanning the drive for errors is another recommended step, as corrupt files, such as the icon cache, may also cause similar problems. Some said that the taskbar icons come back after a few minutes, however this obviously doesn’t occur to everybody, and waiting is clearly not a solution.

All in all, there’s no guaranteed fix for this problem since it has different causes, however the aforementioned steps could prove useful when trying to cope with it. As I said, the bug happens on all Windows 10 versions, and judging from reports posted by users online, it occurs mostly on devices with limited storage, which once again confirms that creating more space is once easy way to resolve it.

Microsoft decides expiring passwords are no longer useful for Windows 10

Microsoft apparently now believes that having passwords expire – in other words, a method whereby the consumer is forced to alter their login password every, say, six months – isn’t a useful security measure.

Inside a new draft bit of security guidance, Microsoft has changed its baseline rules for the following form of Windows 10 (the imminent May 2019 Update – as well as Windows Server) to decrease strategies for “password-expiration policies that require periodic password changes”.

Microsoft argues that when people are forced to create passwords which are hard to remember, they’ll often write them down to make sure they are easier to recall, with obvious major security risks therein. And, when folks have to change passwords, “too often they’ll create a small and predictable alteration for their existing passwords, and/or forget their new passwords”.

Microsoft’s post on TechNet further explains: “Recent scientific research calls into question the need for many long-standing password-security practices for example password expiration policies, and points instead to higher alternatives for example enforcing banned-password lists (an excellent example being Azure AD password protection) and multi-factor authentication.”

The argument will be made that if it’s a “given” that a password will probably be stolen from the user, how long is definitely an acceptable time to permit the thief to continue to use and potentially abuse that login?

Windows’ default happens to be 42 days, that the post notes: “Doesn’t that seem like a ridiculously long time? Well, it is, but our current baseline says Two months – and accustomed to say 90 days – because forcing frequent expiration introduces its very own problems. And if it’s not a given that passwords will be stolen, you acquire those trouble for no benefit.

“Further, if your users are the kind who’re prepared to answer surveys in the parking lot that exchange a candy bar for his or her passwords, no password expiration policy can help you.”

That is, obviously, a fair point, and Microsoft’s conclusion is the fact that having passwords expire over set amounts of time is an “ancient and obsolete mitigation of very low value”, and the firm doesn’t believe it’s worthwhile for the Windows baseline security guidelines to enforce any sort of value on this.

In other words, companies are liberated to do whatever most closely fits them, with Microsoft not coming to a tips about this front moving forward.

Draft measures

Observe that this is only a draft document right now, meaning that these are merely proposed changes, but Microsoft certainly has put a weighty argument behind the move.

Of course, this (potential) switch in security stance is guidance for businesses, and so obviously doesn’t affect folks running Windows 10 at home. However, many of us use password-protected systems or services of one sort or another at work, which usually have periodic forced password reset policies.

Which means this draft document could lead to a rethink of said policies, given Microsoft’s fairly forceful arguments as stated – and perhaps the pain of having to change your password regularly at work may soon be considered a thing of the past, replaced by better and more apt modern security measures for example multi-factor authentication.

Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 update has become breaking explore some PCs

It looks like Microsoft’s latest update for Windows 10 is encountering yet more issues, with some users reporting that Windows Search no longer works.

This follows recent reports the same update was causing a problem where Cortana had been particularly greedy if this found CPU usage, impacting the performance on affected PCs.

Now, there has been several users taking to social media, forums, and the Windows 10 Feedback Hub app complaining that since installing the update, the built-in search tool in Windows 10 no more works.

According to quite a few users, as the search box remains in users’ Taskbars, once they try to look for something, a black box is displayed instead of their search engine results.

It appears as though the issue would be to use the Windows 10 KB4512941 update and the Group Policy or Registry entry for how Windows Search and Bing (Microsoft’s online internet search engine) interact – which was the problem with the high CPU usage problems that users were also reporting.

It appears as though the way to fix this issue would be to uninstall the update for now. This can be done by opening up Settings, clicking ‘Update & Security’, then clicking ‘View update history’. Click ‘Uninstall updates’ then choose the KB4512941 update and click ‘Uninstall’.

Windows 10 KB4512941 installation error

Not just may be the Windows 10 KB4512941 update causing issues for many people once it’s installed, there’s also reports that some Windows Insiders (who try out early updates for Windows before they’re published) can’t even install the update, with the installation producing an 0x800f081f error code.

However, considering the issues plaguing this update, not being able to install it might be a blessing in disguise.

Microsoft claims it’s looking into the issues affecting the update, but it hasn’t released any official fixes or workarounds.

It’s not really a great look for Microsoft, which has faced criticism in the past over issues with previous Windows 10 updates. The company has promised to overhaul the way in which updates are tested and presented inside a bid to prevent future issues, but it appears to not work so far.

Windows 10 Version 2004 Likely Finalized

Microsoft has probably finalized the introduction of Windows 10 version 2004, also called Windows 10 20H1, earlier this year.

The general public launch, however, won’t happen sooner than the next spring, as per the company’s typical release schedule for Windows 10 feature updates. The version number suggests the update may go love production devices based on the usual calendar in April or May.

Microsoft hasn’t commented around the current development stage of Windows 10 version 2004, however it did, however, drop some hints this update has a minimum of moved very close to the RTM phase.

Captured, sources acquainted with Microsoft’s plans established that Windows 10 version 2004 was scheduled to be finalized after December. Microsoft would then concentrate on fixes and performance improvements for the next three or four months, these folks said, because it desired to further polish the feature update before the public rollout started.

RTM build ready

Previous reports indicated the update was scheduled to be signed off on December 17. By the design of things, this did happen.

Zac Bowden of WindowsCentral says Microsoft finalized Windows 10 version 2004 earlier this month. Most likely, the RTM phase was reached as scheduled on December 17 or even earlier, however, no announcement in connection with this was made.

Then, Microsoft itself dropped a hint version 2004 was near to completion. Builds shipped to users signed up for the Windows Insider program no longer featured the preview watermark around the desktop. Microsoft specifically mentioned in the release notes of preview builds this wasn’t an indication version 2004 was finalized.

“The build watermark at the lower right-hand corner of the desktop is no longer contained in this build. This doesn’t mean we’re doneā€¦” the organization said.

However, the software giant removed this mention in the latest Windows 10 preview release – build 19536 published on December 16 for that Fast ring. Probably, Microsoft will soon begin testing Windows 10 20H2 builds within the Fast ring in first weeks of 2020, with 20H1 to get further polishing in anticipation of its spring launch.

The brand new Xbox Game Bar adds a brand new layer to gaming on Windows 10

The Xbox features in Windows 10 have been fairly simple, with quick tools for capturing game footage and sharing it. That’s changing today, soon after the launch of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.

Now, the Xbox Game Bar includes extra overlay options for social features, audio, Spotify and much more. Microsoft presented the details within an Inside Xbox announcement.

Before, pressing “Windows Key + G” while gaming would open an easy overlay with tools to start recording, capture screenshots, broadcast to Mixer and other tools associated with capturing your gameplay. While those tools continue to be contained in the new Xbox Game Bar, you’ll now be able to pull-up other players’ streams while you game. And, those features enjoy a much more company to make the Game Bar increasingly useful.

The audio tool will serve as a volume mixer so that you can balance the audio coming through different apps. The Xbox Social and Xbox Chat tools will let you easily connect with and chat with your Xbox friends. And, a Searching for Group feature can help you find other gamers to play with.

Microsoft has also integrated Spotify in to the Game Bar, so you can control streaming music playback within the overlay. And, finally, no gaming overlay is finished without a system performance monitor to determine the way your CPU, GPU along with other parts will work when you game.

A crowded field

The Xbox Game Bar’s new features may be on point, however they are entering a space that already has competition. Steam has its own overlay, as does Ubisoft’s uPlay and EA’s Origin. The popular voice chat app Discord also offers an in-game overlay.

And, for capturing features, Nvidia’s GeForce Experience is readily accessible on computers with recent Nvidia graphics cards.

Microsoft might have one key advantage, though. As the other overlays require specific software to become running to use them (or hardware and software in the case of GeForce Experience), the Xbox Game Bar comes in the OS level.

Any computer running Windows 10 may have the Xbox Game Bar available across almost any game. It should use games from Steam, Origin, uPlay and much more.

That ubiquity could be a strong reason for favor from the Xbox Game Bar, but limitations like streaming via Mixer only could hold it back for now. We’ll have to see if Microsoft has more in store for that tool at E3 2019.